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Are We In The “Enlightened Age” Yet?

November 8, 2010

Kant wrote the essay, “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment” in 1784 and the issue of enlightenment still exists. When this was written, Kant wrote, “If it is now asked, ‘Do we presently live in an enlightened age?’ the answer is, ‘No, but we do live in an age of enlightenment.’ As matters now stand, a great deal is still lacking in order for men as a whole to be, or even to put themselves into a position to be able without external guidance to apply understanding confidently to religious issues.” (524). He continues on to say that things holding back enlightenment are diminishing.

This was written about the 1700’s, but I believe it is still true today. One of the issues of being an enlightened age is freedom and having lots of it. But, in today’s society, we still have a lot of restrictions to living. We have laws and law enforcers and teachers of any sort and preachers and so on. With the combination of lack of freedom and people telling us how things are, it is difficult to be enlightened or be an enlightening figure. Thus, even with the restrictions of being enlightening figures diminishing, we still have a long way to go to have been an enlightened age. Kant thought this a few centuries ago and if we still have a long time to go, the time we become an enlightened age is far in the future.

But another question still remains, is it even possible to get to total freedom without some people having some order of some sort of you? I do not think its possible because this world has developed more and more and that means more laws to get more freedoms. Since we have laws from before, it requires new laws to be formed to add onto them or to remove their effects. Also, as more freedoms come, new ideas of what should be restricted come about. Also, as people become more enlightened about the world and become enlightening people, more discoveries need to be made, so, more enlightening events are needed and come about.

  1. aaronyan1123 permalink
    November 8, 2010 10:41 PM

    This is an interesting arugument. After reading your opinions on enlightened age, I do think that it is impossible to have a total freedom world even after billions of years. As people have more freedoms, we will have more laws or restrictions to regulate the use of freedoms. Therefore, the more freedoms we have the more responsibilities we have. We will never ever reach the point of the end.

  2. danny19baum permalink
    November 8, 2010 10:52 PM

    I think that your argument that enlightenment is not possible is very true. However, evidence that could be added to your argument could be that chaos would ensue from enlightenment from the lack of authority. This, in turn, would put us right back in the state of nature and the cycle would start over again.

  3. emilywiho permalink
    November 8, 2010 10:58 PM

    I don’t believe that it is possible to obtain ‘total freedom’, as I would agree with Locke when he says “The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law, where there is no law, there is no freedom.”

    You cannot have a ‘total freedom’ where there is no one having some order over you as you must have laws (which keep you safe) in order to have freedom. What freedom would it be when you are constantly in a state where you must fend for yourself and security is not certain?

    I also believe that there may never be an “enlightened age”, and that we will alway be in an “age of enlightenment” as there are simply somethings that are and may never be explained. As Kant rightly points out, religious issues which rely heavily on faith can never be found out by humans and as we continue on our journey in pursuing the ultimate truths about the world, we will constantly be striving to reach the “enlightened age” but never actually reach it.

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